When we left Rotorua this morning, we first stopped at a Redwood Forest. NZ attempted to grow redwoods for commercial purposes. As it happened, the trees liked it so much and they grew so fast that the wood was too open and unfit for use. The trees here were only about 50 years old and quite big.
Next, we made a stop at Rainbow Springs, home to the National Kiwi Trust. Since 1995 it ha been a nursery and hatchery for over 1350 kiwi eggs. When sufficiently mature the chicks are released into the wild where the eggs were gathered. We were allowed to watch behind glass as the chicks were weighed and measured. They were about the size of a large pigeon and very feisty, kicking and squirming. Our guide said they never imprint on the human and are easily released. We viewed 3 adults that are permanent residents due to injury or handicaps. They reverse night and day in the facility to allow for our viewing. Surprisingly to me was how soft the feathers seemed. The numbers are remaining stable UIKeyInputDownArrowbut not increasing mainly because of introduced predators like stoats, possum, rats, dogs, cats. There were no mammals on New Zealand until the Maori came.
This afternoon we flew to Christchurch for a 2 night stay. On our coach ride to the hotel, our guide lectured on the earthquakes of 2010 and 2012 and pointed out the devastation and rebuilding still ongoing. In my pictures you will see the large areas of vacant lots where houses have been cleared and no one is allowed to live there again. Downtown is a jumble of parking lots where once stood buildings. Huge cargo containers are stack one upon another to hold up buildings awaiting repair. Christchurch was once known for its English Gothic architecture. Now, most of that is gone. 70% of the central city buildings were destroyed and are now gone.Tonight we went to Riccarton House for dinner. Riccarton House is a significant early homestead. Preserved there is a bush of native lowland polocarp forest. The bush is securely enclosed with fine mesh fencing, electric wiring and traps. We got a tour with explanation of the plants and birds. Prior to dinner we had a tour of the house with a history of the family that settled there, the Deans (go Scots!). After dinner we had a most delightful story teller. Margaret Copland, in character, presented a biography of maternal great, great grandmother who came from England and her paternal great, great grandmother who came from Poland. She was excellent. Most of the pictures at flickr are not interesting except to document the devastation that still remains in Christchurch from the two earthquakes. But if you persevere to the end you will see videos of the life Kiwi. Pictures at flickr